By TERESA HAMMOND
Not everyone may identify themselves as a ‘gypsy.’ It is, after all, an age-old title which brings with it a certain stereotype.
Andrea B. Riggs, however, may just change that through her recently released book “Gypsy Living.” The 260-plus page self-improvement book serves as both a guide as well as workbook to aid readers in “freeing their inner gypsy.”
The word “gypsy” is used in the book as an acronym: G- gratitude, Y- yes, P- positive purpose, S- self-love and Y- young at heart are each explored within their own chapters.
The first time published author, mother of three, yoga teacher and fitness/health expert helps the reader explore each area through storytelling via a poetry format, as well as open ended questions to allow the individual to go deep within the personal journey.
“The poetry I use is really just for gypsy,” she said. “You can say, ‘harvest gratitude,’ but it’s like the level of which we believe we need to have gratitude. We just don’t understand the cost of not having gratitude.”
She points to the story-like poetry as a tool which makes her standpoint more genuine and demonstrative.
“People learn best when they’re in a story. When they’re in an imaginative state,” she said.
An avid journal keeper from a young age, Riggs was encouraged to pen the book by her husband Charles during a transitional time in their lives. At the time, the couple had left the Mormon Church and relocated the family to Puerto Rico.
According to Riggs, it was just before this life-changing move, that she herself discovered her own gypsy spirit.
“I can learn things,” she shared, noting her past in the mortgage business before the crash, as a Zumba teacher and fitness enthusiast. “I don’t want to just do anything. I want to do what I’m about.”
What she “is about” is what she examines as well as teaches through the book “Gypsy Living.” She also has a website, gypsyfam.com where readers can continue their journey through growth with a 90-day program.
Prior to the couple’s relocation to Puerto Rico, Riggs attended a Baptiste Yoga teacher training. It’s an experience, she shares today, she was not at all prepared for, yet changed her life. During her week of training, facilitator and founder Baron Baptiste challenged her to consider she was not actually happy in her life.
“That’s a good place to begin,” she said, acknowledging that the façade of happiness was one she hid behind to cope with life.
“If we’re okay with the mess. If we’re okay to say this isn’t working for me, those words could be so hard and yet so freeing,” she explained. “For me the greatest teachers aren’t those that just speak at you. They’re the ones that ask questions that are introspective.”
And that is exactly what Riggs does throughout the book “Gypsy Living.”
During the second part of the book she utilizes the word “Worthy” as an acronym: W- wisdom, O- one thing, R- reflection, T- trusting, H- health and Y- your true value. It’s a portion of the book she feels is just as important as Part 1.
“Mainstream Americans disrupt the drift,” she said. “Stop drifting alone. Mix it up. Change it up. If you put yourself out there, you might fail. Put yourself out there and fail.
“Why is there resistance to this?” Riggs continued. “Because society has taught us that. Don’t do that. Stay here because it’s safe. What I do know, is it’s important for you to believe yeah, you’re a gift. That’s a great place to live from.”
Reviewing the book and its contents, the author shared the beauty of the book is that it is timeless. A reader may go through and simply read it, minus the workbook or utilize the workbook portion more than once. She herself recognizes the value of that in her own journey.
“I really believe this stuff,” she said in closing. “I really believe we all have this gypsy spirit. If I can help you ignite some of this fire that’s already lit, if I can help fan it … then you’re going to alter the course of your life and maybe believe in yourself a little bit more. And maybe start doing things you wouldn’t do before.”